Articles

Here you will find some of the latest articles about FirstService Residential in the various markets we serve.
 

News You Can Use: Flash Flood Guidelines and Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

In many parts of the country, flash flood watches and/or flash flood warnings are often issued during torrential downpours, especially in hurricane-prone and/or low-lying areas.

Posted on Friday October 02, 2015 read more

Annual Meetings and Special Meetings: FAQs for Homeowners Associations and Shareholders

Why have we called this meeting?  To once again talk about meetings, an important and necessary part of homeowners association governance.  As you may recall, in our recent article “Board Meeting Basics,” we provided a helpful go-to- guide to help homeowners associations hold more effective and successful… you guessed it, Board meetings.  Now we’re following up with the scoop on two additional – but just as important – types of association meetings:  annual meetings and special meetings.

Posted on Tuesday September 29, 2015 read more

Maintenance Tips to Help Your Homeowners Association Prepare for Fall

With the dog days of summer behind us and the leaves starting to change, it’s essential that your community association begins to change its maintenance activities as well.  In fall, preparation for winter is key – after all, despite an occasional lingering warmth in the air, we know that in many parts of the country, cold weather is inevitably on the way. Whether your HOA is self-managed or professionally managed, getting started on your fall and winter prep will help keep your operations running smoothly as the seasons and temperatures change – and that will keep your residents happy as well.

Posted on Thursday September 24, 2015 read more

Tips to Help your Building Implement a No-Smoking Policy

The dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke are well known, and tobacco use is now the leading cause of disease and preventable death in the United States. But smoking doesn’t just impact our personal health – it also affects the buildings we live in, potentially increasing the risks of fire and property damage, raising insurance costs, increasing legal liability and more.  In addition, property management companies, condominium associations and property owners often field complaints from homeowners about how smoking doesn’t just affect their health and safety, but also their lifestyle – issues like secondhand smoke drifting into their units, increased litter and fire hazards from discarded cigarette butts, smelly and unsightly ashtrays ruining the aesthetics of common areas, and more.

Posted on Tuesday September 22, 2015 read more

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Rental Restrictions

It’s an issue that every board faces sooner or later: how many renters should our association allow in our community? 

Posted on Saturday September 19, 2015 read more

How to Hire the Best Property Management Company

Here’s the good news: hiring the right property management company is going to make your life as an HOA Board Member much easier. On the flip side: there is no shortage of property management firms to choose from, so selecting the best fit for your community association is going to take a little bit of work. 

Posted on Tuesday September 15, 2015 read more

From Property Developer to HOA Leadership: The Importance of a Great Transition Team

During the lifecycle of every managed community, there comes a time when the community’s property developer transfers control of the homeowners association to its duly elected owner-controlled HOA Board.  That very important stage is known as the transition, and it’s not always easy – and usually takes an entire team to make sure it’s done correctly.  

Posted on Tuesday September 15, 2015 read more

Board Meeting Basics for HOA Board Members

Quick, what springs to mind when you hear the word “meetings?” Love them or hate them, if you’re a homeowners association (HOA) board member, you know that meetings are an essential part of community association governance. What some people don’t realize is that community associations operate as businesses, so they must hold regular meetings of their officers and shareholders–in this case, board members and homeowners.

Posted on Thursday September 10, 2015 read more

Tips to Help Make Getting a Mortgage Easier

Congratulations!  After weeks of house hunting, you finally found the perfect home for your family, complete with a convenient location, lots of great amenities, a well-run HOA and an asking price that fits your budget.  Time to break out the bubbly and toast your good fortune, right?  Not so fast.  Before you pop the cork, you’ve got one more hurdle to overcome – getting a mortgage loan.

Posted on Friday September 04, 2015 read more

Bidding Process Simplification Tips for HOAs

Picture this:  your homeowners association has a big job that needs to be done, so you’ve got to find a qualified contractor to do it. How do you manage your vendor selection process to make sure you find the best one to fill your needs? 

Posted on Tuesday September 01, 2015 read more

How Defining HOA Leaders’ Rights and Responsibilities Creates Happy Communities

Ready for more happiness? Last week, we described how when residents understand their rights and responsibilities, it goes a long way to creating a happy community.  Well, in our never-ending quest to build and enhance community happiness, we’re back with Part 2 for homeowners association leaders.  Here’s the scoop – when Board members (and property managers, if the community is professionally managed) have a thorough understanding of their rights and responsibilities, it helps to create an inviting community that is effectively managed, well-maintained and pretty darn happy.  

Posted on Tuesday August 25, 2015 read more

How Defining Residents’ Rights and Responsibilities Creates Happy HOA Communities

Is your community happy?  It’s pretty easy to tell if you’re living in a community that is beautiful, harmonious, properly managed and well, happy. But what actually creates a happy HOA community?  It may seem like a complicated formula, but it all boils down to this:  a clear understanding by both community residents and homeowners association leadership of their rights and responsibilities – and each other’s.

Posted on Friday August 21, 2015 read more

How to Plan Successful Community Events

What’s a great way for homeowners associations to bring residents together, create a sense of community pride and encourage social, cohesive, we’re-all-part-of-the-same team atmosphere?  Plan community events!

Posted on Friday August 14, 2015 read more

Tips for Creating a Timely and Informative Community Newsletter

Congratulations! You’ve been elected to the Board of your community association. You and your fellow members have some exciting ideas about ways to improve your community. And part of that is keeping your residents informed.  It should be easy for you to write and distribute a newsletter, right?  

Posted on Thursday July 30, 2015 read more

How Developers Benefit by Partnering with Property Management Companies

Residential home builders and real estate developers must wear many hats while creating the buildings and communities so many of us call home.  Indeed, each project’s ultimate viability and marketability depend on how well every phase of development is planned and executed – ideally, with the highest levels of expertise, experience, cost-efficiency and professionalism. 

Posted on Wednesday July 29, 2015 read more

Energy Efficiency for Community Associations

Should community associations implement energy efficiency measures?  Most Board members and residents think so, but making conservation a reality can be a challenge.  In a recent issue of Condo Management, FS Energy’s Chris Normandeau offers ways communities can take energy efficiency from principle to practice.    

Posted on Friday July 24, 2015 read more

Tips to Make Your Rooftop Rock

Enhancing the marketability of your high-rise property requires starting at the top – the rooftop, that is. By leveraging this space to offer creative and imaginative amenities, you’ll not only increase property values, but you’ll also provide a gathering place for residents to relax and connect. Great rooftop spaces also have a way of infusing more resort style living into your high-rise.

Posted on Thursday July 23, 2015 read more

How Property Management Software Can Help Increase Personal Service

Can cutting-edge property management software increase personalized customer service?  It’s not a trick question, at least when it comes to the property management industry.  

Posted on Tuesday July 21, 2015 read more

Tornado Preparation Tips to Help Keep Your Family Safe

We’re sure we don’t have to tell you that summertime is the best time of year for outdoor barbecues, ice cream sundaes and family vacations, but did you know it’s also peak season for tornadoes?  Tornadoes are considered nature’s fiercest storms, so it’s very important that you know how to be ready in case a raging – and possibly deadly -- twister comes barreling your way.

Posted on Thursday July 16, 2015 read more

Is High-Rise Condominium Living the Right Choice for You?

You’re just starting out and excited to buy your first home, or perhaps your kids have left the nest and you’re finally able to downsize.  In this active housing market, you’ve got lots options and things are definitely looking up – so maybe you should, too.  We’re talking about vertical living, a.k.a. a high-rise condominium.  Could high-rise condo living be right for you?  

Posted on Tuesday July 14, 2015 read more
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